Terry Nutkins dead…..
albionismA successful virus clinging to a speck of mud.
I am gutted by this news as it means I will never get my day in court with the sleazy bastard.
I met Nutkins when I was 14 or 15 years old and was working at what was then called Woburn Wild Animal Kingdom during the school holidays. Loads of kids from Dunstable had weekend jobs working at Woburn and a large coach used to pick us all up from Dunstable town centre and take us to Woburn for the day.
I was thrilled when the manager told me that I was going to work in the dolphinarium as I loved dolphins and didn’t really enjoy working in the kitchen with many of my fellow school kids.
It was over 30 years ago but Nutkins had the same balding mullet then that he has had all of his life. The first thing that struck me about him, other than his laddish arrogance, was his potty mouth and his cruelty towards the dolphins in his care.
He had a long cane or stick that he used to hit the dolphins with while swearing at them for being “cunts”. I was scared of him but the other staff seemed to love him.
Anyway, my job involved a lot of standing around in betweeen dolphin shows and then, during the shows, I would sell icecreams from a tray.
All of us school kids had to wear the same blue nylon uniforms, for girls it was an ugly button up blue dress and live many other girls I wore a top and trousers underneath. Nutkins told me that I had to just wear the uniform with no trousers and basically I had to do what he said as he was in charge of the dolphinarium.
The first time I wore just the uniform Nutkins had told me that instead of walking up and down the rows of seats with my tray of icecreams that I should stand at the front and let the people come to me.
I did this and towards the end of the show the dolphins jumped right next to me and left me soaking wet from being splashed. I stood there in my now see through nylon dress and felt completely humiliated and embarrassed. The audience seemed to love it and probably thought that it was part of the show.
Immediately after that show Nutkins tried to force himself on me sexually. I won’t go into details but I was terrified and made it clear that I was scared and wanted to leave. He knew that I was underage and that I was a school kid. Something that he told me indicated that I was not the only young girl to have endured his predatory advances.
The next time I turned up for work I had been moved from the dolphinarium to a hot dog stand in a remote part of the park, completely on my own, and that is where I stayed until I left the job.
I phoned the police about what happend to me when I saw nutkins on TV when the whale was stranded in the Thames. Seeing him there, with his balding pate and missing fingers, brought back vivid memories of his abuse of me. I made a statement to the police and he was arrested. He denied everything of course, as he would, and my statement is still lying on file.
I couldn’t talk about it before in case the case ever went to court.
Nukins is a prime example of how a hypocrytical animal abuser and child abuser can charm his way into the hearts of millions. The scary thing is that, even after people were made aware of his abuse of animals and his long history of abusing dolphins (a history that is well documented), people still loved him and were resistant to hearing anything bad about him. The child abuse issues are more complex as I could not say anything here or in any public forum in case I ever got my day in court with him, something that will never happen now.
So terry Nutkins, I’m sorry you died as you denied me my day in court and my chance at justice. I know that I am not the only one.
Mrs MagpieOn a bit of break…
I’m really sorry you had that experience .
It’s interesting that you say that as the whole Gavin Maxwell/Terry Nutkins as a young boy struck me as a weird relationship.
Terry Nutkins went to live with Gavin Maxwell at the age of 11 and Maxwell left everything he owned to Nutkins. The will was contested by both Maxwell’s family and the RSPCA and iirc, they lost.
My commiserations for having had to endure that. Your post does give credibility to a couple of stories I heard “back in the day” when I was a trainee at the Express, though (back in the ’80s). There were the usual rumours doing the rounds about Nutkins liking “chicken” (underage females, for those not familiar with ’70s/’80s slang), and IIRC a staffer at the Express did some digging and turned up a couple of schoolgirls who said he’d used a combination of coercion, flattery and presents to keep them quiet after forcing himself on them. As often happens with such stories it got spiked by the lawyers.
I understand that something similar happend with Johnny Morris – he left most of his estate to Nutkins. It is my impression of Nutkins that he was a cynical manipulator and predator. I suspect that one day others will come forward and that people will gain a different perspective on Nutkins than one of inspirational TV naturalist.
I am unsurprised by this. I think it is only a matter of time before the truth emerges about Nutkins and his unwholesome activities. One really disturbing aspect of the situation is that at Woburn there was at least one adult male in a senior position who knew what was going on and who actively supported Nutkins in his activities. It is so depressing to think that he was at it for decades and got away with it. I was hoping that maybe it was just a phase he went through as a young man but I doubt that this is so, especially given the information in your post.pogofish likes this.
I did wonder if i was the only one, but now I know that there were others too Louloubelle. I was older at 17 but looked younger. Living in Woburn and working at the Abbey. Terry never got very far with me thank goodness, but he did try hard. I too got a soaking, by being thrown in the dolphin pool fully clothed. I was given an ultimatum by him. He was going away for two weeks and I was expected to sleep with him when he got back or I would lose my job. I left the job before he returned from his holiday. I went to the Citizens advice bureau to ask advice on the situation I was put in by him, and was told to leave the job and forget about it. I left the job, but never forgot. I must admit to being happy he has gone.
Thank you so much for sharing.
I am so sorry that Terry did that to you.
This might sound weird but it is important that we don’t communicate privately in case anything ever goes to trial. It would be considered contamination of evidence.
Although Terry is dead, the fact is that people around him at Woburn (I have no idea about the BBC) enabled him to abuse girls and I would hope that some of the people responsible can be brought to justice one day.
I reported Terry’s abuse of me to the police at the Met Police Sapphire Unit in Holburn.
I would encourage you to please contact them re Nutkins. It may be that they cannot do anything as you were 17, and I am not a cop and do not really know how these things work, but they may be interested to hear from you as others may have reported him also. Even if they had not done so yet they may do in days to come, especially given the fallout and investigations re Savile.
If anyone else who was abused by Terry Nutkins is reading this, please think carefully about what you write here. I think it is OK to post up something general, but I have left out specific details of some of the things he did and said, although I reported them to the police, as if they are written about in public then it would compromise the validity of the statement as corroborating evidence.
Woburn girl, thank you for your courage and a big virtual hug and lots of love to you. You were not the only one, and from some of the things Terry said to me, not the only one by a long shot.
Thank you for your very supportive reply. I will think very hard about reporting him. I have only told my story to one other person in the last 40 years, and then only hinted at what happened. My OH dose not know and I never told my parents either, my dad would have killed him! My boyfriend at the time knew the full story and I had to keep him well away from Terry as he wanted to turn off his lights!
My heart goes out to you, you suffered so much worse than me.
I can understand why you didn’t tell anyone. I didn’t tell a soul until I saw Nuktins on TV as a children’s TV presenter. Until that moment I had no idea that the man who had assaulted me all those years ago was a celebrity with access to children.
Victims of sexual assaults, children and adults, often keep it to themselves. I know that I felt very responsible at the time. I felt embarrassed and ashamed. This is not unusual.
I also appreciate that it can be very distressing years after, for the feelings and the memories to resurface. If you feel that you can talk to your OH about it then that would probably be the first step as you will need some support if you decide to take things further.
I really had a lucky escape with Nutkins as it didn’t go as far as rape, just him trying to get his fingers in my knickers having pushed me against a wall. Some of what you say resonates with my experience, although I cannot go into details for the reasons I have described above.
Please take care and I wish you well whatever you decide to do.
A friend of mine put me onto this thread because I had told her of my experience with Terry Nutkins, prior to his death. I was not quite ‘chicken’ and the time being 20 and 20+ and I too didn’t tell my boyfriend as he had a ferocious temper. My first experience was pre-Woburn and maybe because I was that bit older, I wasn’t as traumatised by it or maybe because, despite it being a serious sexual assault, I never sensed a real threat. Later, when I was older and no longer with my boyfriend, his occasional ‘attentions’ were never as serious as the first one, maybe because he sensed I was a strong person who might do something about it – and he was in his second marriage by then, he had something to lose and I just regarded them as a tedious nuisance.
I obviously knew Terry Nutkins more closely and for longer than the people writing these posts and what I found most unpalatable about him was not his lewdness or occasional physical assaults, but his sadistic streak e.g. he loved stirring up trouble between people. In the balance of fairness, I have to say he could sometimes be very nice e.g. he once really upset me with what was an innocent comment that touched a sensitive nerve in my psyche and was very contrite and comforting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making any excuses for him, he was a sleaze bag but as I’ve said to another person, I think he was a deeply damaged person himself who I suspect was simply perpetuating damage visited upon him in his very young years. It was only recently I discovered that he was only 11 when he went to live with the homosexual Gavin Maxwell, I’d thought, maybe from what he told me, that he was in his teens 14 or 15 which, in those days, was school leaving age.
When I first met Terry Nutkins, his first wife, a very beautiful woman, had just left him and he was in such a state that one one occasion when he was drunk, he vomited blood.
One person here said they regard him as a sexual predator and manipulative which I think is probably an accurate assessment but I think that, as has often been said of such people, the real motive is not sex, but power. It is interesting to note that when I was 30 and confident of handling myself (and knowing that as a married man again, now he would not want trouble), out of interest I responded to his latest mauling by saying ‘O.K. next time I see you I’ll go to bed with you’. That was the last time I saw him, he lost interest in me which, as far as I’m concerned, confirms my feeling that he was basically on a power trip.
Finally, to the girl who felt she was thrown in the dolphin pool fully clothed as punishment, take heart, that was standard initiation in the dolphinariums and when the trainer at another dolphinarium said he was going to throw me in, I said he’d go with me. When the time came, he picked me up, carried me to the pool edge and dropped me but I clung on. As I went down I heard a ripping sound – his T-shirt, and then a splash as he came in on top of me. On one occasion after the last show, ALL the staff threw each other in the pool fully clothed so that the departing audience thought it was part of the show and started to sit down again!
Thank you for sharing your experience Old fossil.
I too experienced Terry as lewd. He subjected me to many inappropriate comments and bottom pinching prior to his assault on me. It seemed to me that the dolphinarium was his “kingdom” and that he wanted everyone to know that he was the “boss”.
I hope you don’t mind me asking, but can your remember what year it might have been when he was vomiting blood? I have a vague memory of him bragging about this in a way that grossed me out and I am wondering whether it was at the same time that I knew him. He was extremely tanned, even sunburned, when I knew him and was a bit “Tarzan” like inasmuch as when he was training the dolphins I don’t remember ever seeing him wear a shirt or top.
He had a very beautiful, blonde assistant, also very tanned, who was usually wearing a bikini when I saw her. I assumed that she was his girlfriend, but I could have been mistaken about that.
I think that most if not all abusers and predators are damaged in some way and I’m sure that Nutkins was no exception.
Thanks again for sharing.
This about equates with my experience of the guy.
Loulou knows the outline of my dealings with Nutkins and they were nothing like what you suffered but he did fill all of us with a great deal of unease at the time.
One day, Nutkins and his Really Wild Show chums appeared out of the blue (filming in the area apparently and with a photographer in tow for press photos – hmmm!) at one of our public Natural History Ventures and showed an impressive amount of interest and encouragement – which TBH, we did really need at the time.
This led to further visits from Nutkins himself, trying to integrate himself further in our activities and fairly quickly it became obvious he was wanting us to hich-on to his bandwagon. And it was very much going to be that way round. He would be in charge – it would be his projects, his interests and he would be leading the public/media-facing activities he wanted us involved-in. We would have simply become a very credible publicity/project/validation vehicle for him. This of course promised us major TV exposure and other publicity benefits, so yes we seriously considered it.
However at the same time, one of the principal people in the venture was getting increasingly disturbed and uncomfortable with his interest, to the point where she eventually made it clear that if his involvement continued, she would be gone. AFAIK, no specific complaints were made (but I wouldn’t have been involved there anyway) but she was a very attractive but incredibly young-looking woman. In fact it was often commented-on that she looked far younger than many of the teenagers she had such an aptitude for working with. Anyway, I took her as being completely creeped out by the guy.
So eventually we politely declined his interest/proposals and never saw Nutkins again.
Aditionally, over the years, through close family friends and later professionally, I’ve had dealings with a fair number of the surviving members of Maxwell’s “Sandaig Set” and they are an interesting bunch of people. Not one of them are/were whole or particularly normal individuals, with all kinds of issues and often unpleasant interpersonal dynamics ranging between them, still persisting even decades later. Very strange and unsettling indeed.Louloubelle likes this.
I have been thinking about this thread and about Terry Nutkins a lot over the past 48 hours.
If anyone else reading this was abused by him or witnessed him abusing others then rather than posting here it is probably best to contact the NSPCC who I understand are taking calls from adults in the wake of the Jimmy Savile programme.
Anyone reading this who was abused, I hope you will understand that you are not alone, and also please understand that to prevent contamination of evidence that it is important that you contact the NSPPC or the police rather than posting details of what happened to you here.
Mr.BishieIt’s not a coup, you cunt!
Orang Utanrazzed up on scrumpy and injustice
Nanker PhelgeLeave the gun. Take the cannoli.
I’d heard stuff about his general attitude to others and his unhealthy attention towards young girls well before he died…..I know a few people who worked with him and they all said he was a total cunt all the time. I know a couple of people who lodged complaints about his behaviour (anger and mood, not sexual) to the BBC….it all got sidelined.
I wonder if his ‘Guardian’ took him down a road with no return?
Citizen66splash the cistern
It’s interesting to see that on this thread where personal accounts haven’t been ridiculed and dismissed that it’s encouraged other people to come forward.